Fresno State player gets probation for attack on girlfriend

Updated: October 9, 2003, 7:29 PM ET

FRESNO, Calif. -- Fresno State basketball player Terry Pettis has been sentenced to three years probation and ordered to attend a program for batterers after pleading no contest to misdemeanor vandalism and battery charges in an attack on his girlfriend.

Pettis also was ordered Wednesday to pay restitution of $4,500 for the damage.

The district attorney filed charges against Pettis on Tuesday. He was arrested Sept. 24 on suspicion of misdemeanor battery and felony vandalism after hitting his girlfriend and damaging her apartment.

Assistant district attorney Don Penner said the law allowed him leeway to choose between charging Pettis with felony or misdemeanor vandalism.

"Considering all the circumstances of this particular case and the willingness of the defendant to accept responsibility and make restitution immediately, we thought it best to charge him with a misdemeanor," Penner said.

If convicted of a felony, Pettis automatically would have been kicked off the team, according to the school's Student-Athlete Code of Conduct.

"It was fair what they did," Pettis said. "It's a mistake somebody went through. I don't believe they would've taken away my whole career for something like this. It's harsh that I did it, but it's harder to take away somebody's four years of basketball. That would've been worse."

The victim asked not to be identified.

"He needs to remember he's dealing with other peoples' lives. Sometimes he thinks only about himself, and that's his problem," she said. "I definitely think he needs the help."

Bulldogs coach Ray Lopes said Pettis, a sophomore guard from Minneapolis who last season averaged 7.9 points and 3.5 assists per game, remains suspended indefinitely.

Lopes and athletic director Scott Johnson said Pettis will have to sign a provision-laden contract before the school considers letting him rejoin the team. The Bulldogs play their first game Nov. 21.

Pettis is due back in court Nov. 19, when he must present proof he attended the anger management program.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index